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From the Driveway to the Runway, an A&P Career Pathway Story

Penny Tomlinson oversees the Castle Parts Department. Along with several other roles she fills, she’s the go-to person when Castle Mechanics need parts, clothing or want to visit with one of the two dogs she frequently brings in (Cadbury and Athena). Don’t let Penny’s candy-colored hair or perpetually friendly demeanor mislead you—she runs a tight ship.

Since joining Castle in June 2020, Penny has been instrumental in scaling up the Castle Parts Department as the company experiences rapid expansion, including the acquisition of five of the largest planes that have ever joined the fleet—the Saab 340B. She’s helped implement new policies and inventory software, and has grown the Parts team as well.

As an A&P with 27 years of experience, Penny has spent lots of time on the other side of the parts counter too. Her story is an unorthodox one. Born in Detroit, the center of the American automotive universe, you could say odds were good that cars would be significant in her life. And so they were; she began helping her dad work on cars as a very small child. Having proven herself proficient, she went on to become a race car mechanic for a drag racing team: Kalitta Motorsports. However, race cars weren’t Kalitta’s only business, they also own Kalitta Air. As time went on, Penny began to learn about plane engines and soon found herself attending the Michigan Institute of Aeronautics.

Upon becoming an A&P, Penny found herself working on some impressive airframes: Falcon 20s and 900s, Gulfstream 150s, 400s and 450s, as well as Lear 35s. After years of working on private jets, she transitioned to a new role, as Chemical Coordinator for Boeing. There, she ran two programs for airlines; one for restock, and the other, a chemical program, to ensure the airlines had everything on hand that they would need to keep the planes flying. Her

impressive territory covered Wisconsin to Mississippi, and everything from Florida to Maine.

When Penny made her way to Castle, we knew we’d found a unique individual, with a diverse and eclectic background, to join the team. According to Penny, working at Castle has allowed her to become part of a family, and she says the down to earth feeling at Castle is her favorite thing about working here. When asked what she would tell other A&Ps about the experience they might find at Castle, she says that it is a wonderful place to learn and you truly can be part of family.

We’re thankful that Penny found us and we’re proud to have her on the team!

(and Athena and Cadbury too)


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